Minister announces additional funding for Bus Transition Fund
Additional funding will be provided to help top up bus ticket sales and ensure that services can continue to run, the Welsh Government has announced.
On Friday (December 1) Minister for Climate Change, Julie James MS said “limited additional funding” will top up the Bus Transition Fund (BTF) which provides revenue support for bus services in Wales.
In July, the funding scheme replaced the Bus Emergency Fund (BEF) which offered financial support from the Welsh Government during the Covid pandemic.
The Welsh Government made £46m available from bus budgets to support the arrangements for the whole financial year.
Despite the new money packages, 10% of bus services were axed over the summer, with more expected to come.
Up to £6.8m of additional funding will now been made available to top up the fund in south east Wales.
The BTF was developed collaboratively by the Welsh Government, local authorities, Transport for Wales and the industry. The funding also keeps TrawsCymru services running.
Julie James MS, Minister for Climate Change said: “I am pleased to confirm the Welsh Government will provide some limited additional funding to the Bus Transition Fund in the 2023/24 financial year.
“The funding, of up to £6.8m, has been made available to bolster the Bus Transition Fund in south east Wales. It will only be used to support the current network should it be required following reconciliation exercises.
“The Bus Transition Fund was established in July of this year to help transition the industry away from the bus emergency scheme funding they have relied on over recent years.
“It tops up bus operators revenue from ticket sales. It ensure that vital bus services continue to run. By the end of this financial year the bus industry will have received over £200m in Government support to help them manage the impact of the covid pandemic, rising costs and lower passenger numbers.
“We have always been clear that the Bus Transition Fund will require in year management and this is another example of the Welsh Government’s support to the bus industry.
“We continue to meet regularly with local authorities and bus operators to monitor the fund’s expenditure.
“It is crucial that we all play our part in supporting the industry – it binds our communities together, provides equality of access, and is relied upon by those who have no other choice.”
Welsh Conservative Shadow Transport Minister, Natasha Asghar MS said: “Whilst the token amount offered by the Labour Government is welcome. Unfortunately, it is not enough to help the struggling sector. If Labour hadn’t sent £155m back to London, there would have been more than enough funding available to support our buses.
“Labour give with one hand and take away with the other by continuing to cut bus services up and down Wales, leaving many people stranded and abandoned in their own communities.
“This is all whilst bus fares in Wales have increased by 6.3%, but outside of London in England, they’ve gone down by 7.4%. Other parts of the UK are benefitting from support from the UK Conservative Government with the £2 fare cap.”
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